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The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Show was a Western comedy and variety program that ran on ABC television for 13 from September 29 to December 29, 1962. In addition to Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Rogers, who married in 1947, the program featured the Sons of the Pioneers, Pat Brady, and Cliff Arquette in his role of country iconoclast Charley Weaver.

The premiere episode entitled the "Seattle World's Fair" honored the celebration in 1962 in Seattlemarker, Washingtonmarker. The November 3 episode was set at Knotts Berry Farmmarker amusement park in Buena Parkmarker, Californiamarker. Martha Raye guest-starred in the December 8 episode "Circus". Dale Robertson of NBC's Tales of Wells Fargo appeared in the episode "Western Hit Parade" on October 20, which offered the songs "Cool Water", "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling", and "Don't Fence Me In". Still another segment featured singer Kathy Taylor and magician Mark Wilson.

A patriotic program was broadcast on October 27. A tribute to silent film star William S. Hart aired on November 10. A Thanksgiving Day celebration aired on November 17, and a Grand National horse show followed on November 24. A minstrel show was presented on December 1.The last new episode entitled "Christmas Open House" aired on December 22.

From 1951 to 1957, the couple had a successful half-hour western drama The Roy Rogers Show, which aired for 104 episodes on Sunday afternoons on NBC. It was rebroadcast on Saturday mornings on CBS from 1961 to 1964. Evans herself composed the words and music of the program theme song, Happy Trails. The song quickly became the composition most associated with the pair.

The series was quickly canceled. The program preceded another short-lived ABC series, the sitcom Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, starring Fess Parker and Red Foley. Roy and Dale aired opposite the first year of The Jackie Gleason Show, another comedy-variety program, on CBS. NBC ran the legal drama Sam Benedict at that hour, co-starring Edmond O'Brien in the title role, with Richard Rust as his understudy.

The Handbook of Texas described the 1962 variety program as an unsuccessful attempt by Rogers and Evans to "revive their flagging popularity". The couple retired to Apple Valleymarker in San Bernardino Countymarker, California, and devoted themselves to their Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum, which was moved thereafter to nearby Victorvillemarker, California, and then to Bransonmarker, Missourimarker. Evans continued to write books testifying to her Christian faith and appeared at numerous spiritual conferences. The Texas Press Association named her "Texan of the Year" in 1970. She was named in 1995 to the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Famemarker. She and Rogers were elected to the Western Music Association Hall of Fame in 1989.

References

  1. Alex McNeil, Total Television New York: Penguin Books, 1996, appendix


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